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November 17, 2017

Chase Briscoe

Brad Keselowski

Buddy Sisco

Homestead, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race‑winning team, the 22nd annual Ford EcoBoost 200, Chase Briscoe, who's also our 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. This is your first victory. This is your 14th top‑10 finish in 2017, a tremendous effort from the entire team. Talk to us a little bit how this thing played out in your eyes.
CHASE BRISCOE: Yeah, you know, we brought a really good truck, first off, and just can't thank Brad and everybody at BKR. For us to not be in the playoffs and shutting down, to still bring trucks that can win races and sit on the pole, just a huge statement from the organization in general. Just can't thank the guys enough at the shop to keep believing in all of us, especially me and Austin, and especially me just not being in the playoffs, you would think that you could kind of be pushed to the side, but we had two poles after we got knocked out of the playoffs and then the win. Just can't thank them for continuing to keep fighting for us.
It was definitely an up‑and‑down race. We fired off there, and we were really good I felt like, and Bell kind of ran us down. We just lost all rear drive in that second stage. I got kind of shuffled on the restart, didn't do a good job on my end and fell back to fourth, and felt like we were pretty good right there at the end because I started catching everybody again, but really our pit crew was absolutely awesome tonight. That's one thing that I feel like we have struggled with all year long, and tonight they were absolutely on it. Once we got to the lead, I felt like we were going to have a caution just because it seems like all year long that's kind of the way our luck has been, but we were fortunate enough to go on and win.
Definitely didn't think it would take this long, but definitely sitting here glad that it did.
THE MODERATOR: Buddy, you've got a rookie, you've shepherded him through to win Rookie of the Year. Talk to us from your perspective how this thing played out.
BUDDY SISCO: I just have a lot of trust in him. From the time I met him down here at Homestead last year, just watching the race, we knew we were going to get him as a driver. The first time I went and watched him practice at Atlanta, he ran about 25 laps wide open, never lifted, and I said, yeah, that's what we need for a race car driver right there.
Unbelievable car control, so you can run a different setup with him than you have to a lot of guys. You just turn him loose and brag on him a little bit and crack the whip, and he'll get it done.
THE MODERATOR: Brad, both of your drivers have talked in the last couple days about going out and getting this team, this organization a win, to go out on top. What does this mean for you to see your guys come through like this, one battling for a title right up until the end and then to go ahead and cap it off with a race win?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, you know, it's not a great situation to be in where we're shutting down the team and so forth, and it's a real test of character to see how you finish it. You know, that's everyone, Chase included, Buddy included, and these guys really stepped up. They deserve a lot of credit for that. It's easy to kind of coast and wind down, and they didn't do that. They found a little bit extra, as you can tell, to get in Victory Lane for the first time for their team.
I'm really proud of that. That doesn't go unnoticed by me. I know how hard a mental challenge that is for anyone, and they overcame that, and I think that's probably the biggest thing that stands out for me tonight.
Of course we had a chance at the championship with Austin, and he ran, I thought, a pretty strong race, as well, so proud of that, but it's certainly a special night, in some ways bittersweet, but it's kind of the cards that we were dealt, but everyone made the most of them. That's all you can ask for, and I'm really, really happy for everybody.

Q. Obviously we've heard a lot about going out on top and winning tonight. Do you think you'll look back and regret knowing that you guys were so competitive this final year that you're going to shut this down and go do something else?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Well, I mean, you can only regret the things that you had the ability to really make work and didn't. It just wasn't feasible to make things work for next year on a number of levels. You know, in that sense, I can't really regret it because it wasn't a possibility. But I do think we have a great group to go‑‑ that I feel fortunate to be a part of in some small way. Jeremy Thompson deserves a lot of credit, of having a great team. I don't think my days of being a team owner are over, they're just maybe taking a little break until the right situation finds me. The right situation didn't exist for 2018, but it might come back around the corner sometime soon, and when that day happens, this will be the last race that we ran, and it'll be tough to beat it, I can tell you that.
I'm not sure what those scenarios might be. I know that I haven't given up on the ownership stuff. I would like to come back to it when the time and opportunity is right. You know, regret is not the right word. Regret would only be the right word if it was 100 percent in my control and have no plan on coming back. I can tell you if the right scenario unfolds that I would do just that, I would come back. That's kind of how I feel about it.

Q. Now that this is over because you're in the championship playoff, was this‑‑ you're coming into this with‑‑ you've got to worry about yourself and Penske and all that; now that this is over, was this kind of weighing on your mind? It's got to take part of your focus and concentration away. Now that this is over, you can enjoy it and put it behind you, and now maybe that little piece of worry is over with; does that make sense?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Is that for me? Oh, I'm sorry. I thought it was for Chase. Yeah, I don't know if I have a great answer for that. I know a couple of things that I feel I probably haven't said. I feel like I've been fortunate to be a part of some careers. There were a lot of people that took chances on me early in my career and invested in me and so forth, and that's what got me to where I'm at now, and I'm thankful for that. Part of being thankful for that is not just saying words but doing something in return and action, and I've been fortunate enough to help a few people with their careers, drivers that maybe people probably think of them more than anything else like Chase and Austin and Ryan Blaney that got‑‑ Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric. It's been great to help those guys and see them be successful, and a lot of other guys, pit crew guys and so forth. About half of the pit crew on my Cup car right now has come through these programs, and half the pit crew at Team Penske has. That feels great to know that you're a part of helping them build their future.
But you know, it's one of those scenarios where, like I said, I'd like to think of it as a pause rather than a break, but I can tell you that this guy sitting next to me, I've been worried about him. I want to see him get a great deal. Hopefully that'll all come together for him, and I'll let him handle whens and wheres and what's going to be when the time is right for him.
But I do feel like this year was a big leap of faith. We put two rookie drivers in who, I think, combined starts between the two was maybe six in NASCAR, period, and both of them won races, never had a veteran driver to really lean on. That's a big ask for two rookies and one that doesn't go missed on me. And they carried it with a lot of poise and great leadership.
I didn't see it. Maybe it happened and they didn't tell me about it, but I never saw the two fight with each other or have any issues, because they're both young talents, guys that I would call first‑round draft picks as drivers. They're going to go on and have bigger and brighter careers than what I could ever give them here with the current model that I have.
I'm happy for them and happy to see them go to the next step. It's important for a young driver to keep growing, keep building. You know, and the reality is I'm happy to see it kind of go for them to blossom and have that next opportunity. It's like kicking the bird out of the nest and making sure he flies.
But they'll make the most of it. You know, I think there's a few people that I'm concerned about in the shop and so forth being able to land the right deal and so forth, but the drivers and so forth, they're going to go on and they're going to have great careers, much bigger than what I could have ever done for them in the next few years. In a lot of ways I think it's good for them.

Q. Brad, does Chase get this truck, or does it already have a price tag on it‑‑
BRAD KESELOWSKI: How much did he pay you for that one? We're going to have to think and talk about that one a little bit.
CHASE BRISCOE: I'll take the Eldora truck.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Was there anything left of that one?
CHASE BRISCOE: We didn't build it.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: We'll worry about that one. I've got to have a meeting with the financial team. Once I see that red number I might make a word I don't want to make, but we'll figure that one out as we go.

Q. Chase, do you have any idea what you're doing next year, and does it stress it out, and are you like, I'm a Ford guy and they'll figure out what they're doing with me?
CHASE BRISCOE: Yeah, it's definitely been stressful, especially when you haven't won a race. I think you try to campaign for yourself and say that you can get it done, but when you don't have a win to count for it, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, I think. So I think tonight was definitely a big momentum boost for me. It definitely doesn't hurt. I can say that at least. But yeah, I think I'm going to be okay for next year. I think we're going to have announcements maybe even this weekend, so looking forward to obviously going there next year and seeing what we can do, and just can't thank Brad enough. I remember when I met with him at Kansas in 2016, he sat there and said that this whole career deal is an elevator; when you get to the top you've got to send it back down, and you send it back down obviously getting a win, I feel like, going to the next level. Hopefully I can get back to the top and then I can send it down for the next guy.

Q. I spoke to Kevin Harvick a few weeks ago, and he said he doesn't see himself becoming a truck owner again unless it's part of a group. What do you consider, as you put it, to be the right situation to get back in the ownership realm in the future?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: There's a lot of pieces. I think the biggest thing is just the manufacturer piece is huge. Having the right support there is critical, financially and technically, and then the sponsorship model is, too. I feel‑‑ I've had great managers run this program, and they're going to go on and do some great things, as well, and they've already got spots lined up and I'm happy for them so I don't want to tell where they're going. Putting together the team was a real joy, but probably the biggest struggle for was is we were always playing from behind on funding, and I would say that those scenarios are the most critical to putting together the right team.
I feel like with the knowledge that I have growing up in the sport and with some of the people I'm around that we could build a top‑caliber team, not just at this level but at the highest level with the right surroundings financially. But this was just too hard for me to come by at this level. That was certainly a limitation.

Q. You think your parents would let Christopher Bell stay at their house now?
CHASE BRISCOE: I don't know. Now that they know him, it would definitely help. But yeah, it's definitely funny, looking back, I think it's probably been six or seven years when we first started racing video games together, and he was in Oklahoma at the time and was going to come to Indiana and start racing sprint cars, and like I told you, I remember asking my parents if Christopher Bell could come stay and live with us, and they're like, no, we don't even know who he is. We're not going to let some random kid in our house. It's definitely cool, though, for two kids that grew up racing sprint cars together and racing online, and we still race online almost every night together. It's definitely cool to be able to do double burnouts out there with him. So it's definitely cool stay or not. But I don't know if they'd let him stay or not. I think they've even kicked me out at this point. We'll see.

Q. Did you think this day would come when Mike Hillman left?
CHASE BRISCOE: You know, I had all the confidence in the world in Buddy. I think when we had that deal where he suspended, Buddy came in, and that was our four best races, I think, in the middle of the season. You're only as good as the team, not one guy. I had all the confidence in the world in all my guys. We struggled last week a little bit, but we still finished fourth, so we knew that we could carry momentum throughout the year, and I think we all wanted to win. I think it's easier to find a job when you have winners. I know Buddy has been preaching that all year long. Yeah, I'm proud of these guys, like I said, but yeah, Hillman leaving didn't really have an effect. Obviously I love Hillman to death and he's a great friend, but at the same time I knew we'd be all right.

Q. And Buddy said it had been a pleasure for what you considered the best owner that you had ever worked for in Brad. Can you tell us why? I know it's hard to‑‑ when you have a full‑time day job as he does with Team Penske to find of kind that balance?
BUDDY SISCO: He's a racer. The best thing you can say about Brad is he was raised in a racing family. He understands the business from the bottom to the top. He understands sacrifice and the whole deal. When we first started we didn't have a really nice place to work, but we managed a win out of it, and so he went out and made an investment in a really nice shop for us. He does everything first‑class. He raises the bar. He made every other truck team better because he made his team better. I've worked for a lot of owners over the years. Whether he's sitting here or not, if he called me back in four or five years, I'd be the first guy on the doorstep wanting to go to work for him.
BUDDY SISCO: He's a great owner and Chase is a great driver. Drivers and owners make good crew chiefs, not the other way around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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